JC hails from the Old World – Switzerland, to be exact-where he spent his childhood holidays playing in his grandmother’s vineyards on the northern shores of Lake Bienne. At the tender age of 14 he decided to become a winemaker and he was all of 20 when he realised this dream! Having qualified as a viticulturist and winemaker, the inventive JC made his first wines in a converted garage.
How did the talented Swiss winemaker land up in the South African Winelands? Well, Cupid intervened and in 1999 JC married the South African-born Carolyn Finlayson, daughter of Cape wine pioneer, Walter Finlayson.
Frequent visits to his wife’s home turf convinced JC of the exciting winegrowing potential on the southern point of Africa and in 2002 the couple invested in what has become one of the most innovative wineries in the Hemel-en-Aarde region.
JC’s winemaking philosophy is based on ‘enhancing the beauty of nature’. To quote: “When you are harvesting quality fruit it is not necessary to manipulate the wine. Rather guide it gently through the winemaking process to preserve the sense of place.” To which he adds: “Winemaking is a delicate art requiring restraint to capture the inherent nuances.”
Having honed his skills on Pinot Nair and Chardonnay, he today applies his talents to create a much wider repertoire of top-class wines.
Although JC originally selected the Creation Wines terroir for its suitability to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the stable weather conditions prevailing on the estate also facilitate the successful cultivation of other varieties. Recognising this potential, JC was the first in the Hemel-en-Aarde to grow and produce a Bordeaux-style white blend (Creation Sauvignon Blanc, SemiIIon).
He also planted the first Grenache vineyard in the area and was the first to bottle a single variety Viognier.
Creation wine portfolio – every bottle carries the SA Wine and Spirit Board seal for Integrity and Sustainability- presently comprises 19 different wines. Among which the highly sought-after, individually numbered Art of Creation range comprising a Chardonnay and a Pino Noir. The estate has also introduced a Reserve range of which JC says: “One of the exciting opportunities arising from our now fully mature, virus free vineyards is the ability to select exceptionally high-quality pockets of grapes in single-site vineyards that provide the ultimate expression of terroir and release them under our Reserve labels.”
Having bridged the divides of Old and New World winemaking, JC has established his own innovative and inimitable style, culminating in award-winning wines with the Balance, Elegance, Distinction and Finesse for which Creation Wines has become renowned.
At the inaugural 2019 World’s Best Vineyards (WBV) awards Creation was selected among the 50 top wineries. Over 1500 nominated wineries from a total of 17 countries were represented and the winners were chosen by a prestigious international voting academy. The stated aim of the WBV list is to raise the profile of wine tourism and to encourage visitors from all over the world to explore the world’s best wineries. The selection was based on an aggregated ‘total experience’ and Creation was one of only three South African wineries to qualify for the list.
The Swiss do not only produce chocolate, cheese and watches they also produce world class wines!